6 minute read

My Choice Between Marriage and Porn

Last Updated: May 4, 2022

Victory Stories
Victory Stories

Every day at Covenant Eyes we hear inspiring stories of victory over porn. Here are just a few of them.

The following narrative is based on a true story shared by one of our members. Names and details have been changed to protect privacy.

The Ultimatum

Amy handed me the ring, “I can’t marry you. Not yet.”

She looked away and wiped the tears from her eyes. My stomach reeled. I didn’t know if I was more hurt or angry. We sat there without saying anything.

Finally, she turned back to me, “I still love you, but you’ve got to deal with this first.”

But I’m trying! I wanted to scream. Do you have any idea how difficult this is? I said nothing, but it was like she read my mind.

“I’m sorry Leo, but I can’t marry a man who’s addicted to porn. I need to know you’re really over this before we pick a date.”

Samson Society founder Nate Larkin says that four out of five addicts only go into recovery after receiving an ultimatum. Well, here I was.

How did I get to this point?

The Beginning

When it started, I was a skinny eleven-year-old wearing baggy jeans and plastic-framed glasses too big for my face. Mom and Dad were fighting a lot then, so I liked going next door to Bobby’s house and playing Mario Kart in his basement.

It was a Saturday morning. Bobby and I were engrossed in video games as usual, but then Bobby’s older brother Dave barged in, stepping in front of the TV.

“Get out of the way!” yelled Bobby.

Dave laughed, dancing in front of the screen. He held an iPhone and waved it around wildly. “No, you’ve got to see this.”

“We’re playing, move!”

 “Check it out!” Dave insisted. He shoved the phone in our faces and started playing a video—a video of naked people.

We forgot about Mario Kart immediately. I hardly knew what I was seeing but it captivated me. That morning in Bobby’s basement kicked off over a decade of severe addiction to porn.

I knew it was wrong. I wanted to stop. I felt dirty. But it was like those videos were burned into my mind. Once I saw them, they kept playing over and over again. Not only that, but it was just too easy to find more porn. After I saw it that first time, I started seeing it everywhere

The Fight

My parents divorced when I was 13, and I spent every other weekend with my dad. Dad, it turns out, was looking at porn too. I don’t know if Mom ever realized it, but I found his magazines in the bathroom. We never talked about that kind of thing.

But, this was also the time that I professed faith in Jesus. I was going to the youth group at my dad’s church, and I prayed and asked Jesus to come into my heart. While the band pounded out the chorus of “Open the Eyes of My Heart” amidst flashing strobe lights, I broke down and confessed my sin. I told God I was sorry for looking at porn and asked Him to wash me clean of it.

After that, I could make it a week, two weeks, or even a month without porn. But inevitably, I’d find myself going back to it. I felt hopeless, helpless, and stuck.

Am I really a Christian? I wondered.

I knew I had to get help. One cold Sunday night in February, we had a talk on lust. The youth pastor invited any of the guys who were struggling to come and talk with him afterward. I took the plunge.

“I’ve been struggling,” I stammered, looking at the floor.

The youth pastor was an energetic red-haired guy in his twenties named Jeff. Pastor Jeff bobbed his head knowingly, “I’m glad you told me, Leo, let’s pray about this.”

I felt the weight slide ride off my shoulders. Now I’m free! I told myself. Never again.

Pastor Jeff followed up with me each of the next three weeks. He gave me that same, knowing look, “You been doing alright, Leo?”

I enthusiastically reported that I was doing great. He would slap me on the back, “That’s great Leo, I’m proud of ya.” He stopped asking after a few weeks. And I thought my struggle with porn was over.

But it didn’t take long before I found myself back in the old habits. I kept fighting, but I kept losing. This went on for years.

The Choice

In my junior year of high school, Amy started coming to youth group. She was the perfect girl — so beautiful, godly, and caring. She sang with the praise team, and I thought she sounded — and looked — like an angel.

We started dating a few months before graduation. I knew I wanted to marry her, and I thought for sure I had overcome porn for good. Why would I look at porn when I’ve got Amy? But I hadn’t overcome porn. I kept returning to it. I hated it, but I also loved it too much to quit.

I told Amy about my struggle. “It’s OK,” she said. “I know a lot of guys are tempted by porn. I appreciate your honesty, and I want to help you defeat this.”

I couldn’t believe how blessed I was to be dating such a loving person. There’s no way I’ll keep looking at porn now, I thought. And I told her that.

We dated a few years before I proposed to Amy and she accepted. She was everything I wanted, my high school sweetheart, and the girl of my dreams.

But I kept struggling with porn. She found out a few months before the wedding, and that’s when she gave me the ultimatum. I had a choice. I had to finally get serious about overcoming porn or I would lose the love of my life. Which would it be?

I chose Amy.

The Victory

I realized that if I was going to quit porn, I had to be willing to do whatever it took. Smartphones had been a stumbling block for me ever since that day in Bobby’s basement. So I got rid of mine. I needed my computer for online classes, but I knew that would be a temptation, especially since my phone was gone. So I installed Covenant Eyes.

I told three different guys from church about my struggle and asked them all to be allies and receive my accountability reports. One of my allies was John, a small group leader at church. He seemed like someone with a lot of wisdom, so I asked him to meet with me once a week for discipleship and accountability.

It wasn’t all smooth sailing from there.

I slipped a few times, especially facing the frustration of my postponed wedding. John had some tough questions for me about my accountability reports. But I felt something was different now.

I realized that relationship conflict was a trigger for me — something that went back to the early days when my parents were always fighting. When I had a disagreement with Amy, a misunderstanding at work, or a hurtful conversation with my dad, I would feel an overwhelming urge to bury my feelings in a porn binge.

In order to resist, I learned I needed to call John or one of my allies right away to talk about it.

The Commitment

I married Amy a year later.

That’s not the end of my story though; it’s really just the beginning. Amy knows I’m committed to ongoing recovery. She knows that accountability is a vital part of my life now.

Choosing Amy over porn wasn’t a one-time decision. It’s something I have to do every day. Given the choice between marriage and porn, I chose marriage. More importantly, I’m choosing marriage every day. And it’s 100% worth it.

What will you choose?

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